Personal Chef Jody Emer felt the impact of the economy on her Chicagoland clients, some of whom felt they could no longer afford to focus on healthy eating due to the increase in organic and fresh food costs.
Rather than fight the economic climate, Jody reinvented herself as a personal chef promoting wellness, developing recipes for a healthy lifestyle, and building nutritional awareness. She is now seeing clients who require specialty diets and seek wellness plans for diabetes, celiac, renal failure, hypertension, and cancer. Other specialty diet populations she works with include the aged, chemo therapy patients, and gastric by-pass recipients.
Awareness of food is a major component of Jody’s dietary philosophy. She encourages every client to keep a food journal. Not only does she feel it is a great tool to guide her clients’ in their food choices, it also helps her create a customized nutrition and wellness plan for each client. Using the journal, she determines what will work best based on the client’s likes and dislikes, schedule, and eating patterns.
Jody creates a weekly menu, and can cook it either on-site or off-site with an option to deliver to the client’s home. Three days of meals go into the refrigerator, and the rest in the freezer. She provides daily, weekly or monthly service choices. Most clients typically request dinners; however, Jody also bakes some type of bread or muffins.
Can’t afford a personal chef? Jody’s number one piece of nutrition advice is that “foods closest to the ground are best for you.” Those foods, such as root vegetables, are nutritionally dense, have the most vitamins and minerals, and provide the biggest bang for the body. They also tend to be less processed — an important factor in choosing her ingredients.
Chef Jody is an alumnus of Kendall College, and is active in the American Culinary Federation in Chicago. She is certified in Professional Cookery, Bakery and Pastry, Catering and Dining Room Management, and specializes in cooking for restricted diets. She is a personal chef in Chicago and the North Shore, and is in the Health and Wellness Promotion at the College of Lake County. Her web site is Thyme2shine.com.